Thomas De Witt was born in Kingston, New York, into a Dutch family of long ancestry in New York. A doctor of divinity, De Witt became one of the pastors of the Collegiate Dutch Reformed Church in New York City in 1827. He joined The New-York Historical Society in 1838, and two years later was elected a vice-president, an office he was to hold for nearly 30 years; he also served as the thirteenth president of the Society (1869-71).
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